Philadelphia Pizza Parlor Making a Difference

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Making a difference in the life of another person doesn’t always have to take significant effort. While some people may think that it takes a lot of time, a lot of money, or something else that is beyond their ability to handle – sometimes a simple act of care is all it takes to turn someone else’s day around. Today we share a fantastic story that shows how little acts of care can add up in a big way.

27 year old Mason Wartman started his professional life on Wall Street. After just a few years, Mason decided that the big corporate job and the daily grind weren’t for him. He wanted to get back to his roots, to connect with people, and to follow his passion. He opened a pizza parlor.

The one thing he did take from New York City was the concept of simple and effective $1 a slice pizza, the kind so many pizza joints around NYC offer to busy commuters and working professionals. He thought that he could bring the concept to his home town of Philadelphia, and thus, Rosa’s Fresh Pizza came to be.

Mason spent time building up the business, getting the pies just right and getting used to the busy life of managing a restaurant. Then, one day, a customer came in and changed his life. It was a simple act. Noticing a homeless person in line behind them, this individual offered to pre-pay for the less fortunate customer’s meal. Mason was so touched by the act that he had a flash of inspiration: besides building his business for success, he could also build it for charity.

Mason began promoting the idea of “paying it forward.” Now, when a customer enters Rosa’s Fresh Pizza to buy a slice or two for themselves, they are given the option of donating a dollar to buy a slice for a homeless or less fortunate individual. Those who donate are given a sticky note to write a message on, and attach to the wall. If someone who could use a hand comes into the pizza parlor, they can grab a sticky note off the wall and redeem it for a slice of pizza.

While it may have started as a happy accident of sorts, the model has grown to serve the community. Mason admits that he has trouble keeping track of just how many slices are donated and redeemed, but he estimates that Rosa’s serves at least 40 homeless individuals a day.

Even more than the dollars donated and the much appreciated warm meals, Mason has helped to engender a spirit of kindness in his restaurant and the surrounding area. By accompanying the slices with heartfelt notes, Rosa’s seeks to not only feed, but to welcome those in need of a little help. By bringing the community together, both rich and poor can see each other as members of the same community, brothers and sisters of the world who might otherwise miss the opportunity to think twice about one another.

Charity can start small and grow to accomplish big things. Something as simple as a kind note, or as affordable as a single dollar can make a difference. When we spend more time thinking about our fellows we inevitably find ways to make the world a better and more welcoming place, one in which we are united in love and service.

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